New Publication on ISIS: On Top of the Revolutionary Game

(c) Edinburgh University Press (2023)

Find my recent analysis on the so-called „Islamic State’s“ strategic and military agenda in this 2023 volume offering a fresh persepctive on global revolutionary movements published by Edinburgh University Press: „Revolutionaries and Global Politics. War Machines from the Bolsheviks to ISIS“ Edited by Ondrej Ditrych, Jakub Zahora, Jan Daniel

On Top of the Revolutionary Game: Uncovering the ‘Islamic State’s’ Revolutionary Message
(by Miriam Müller-Rensch)

ABSTRACT: Chapter 5 of „Revolutionaries and Global Politics“ aims to uncover one of the major reasons for Daesh’s still-ongoing global success among other Jihadi-Salafist groups: By putting the revolutionary aspects of Jihadi-Salafism on top of their strategic and military agenda. Based on a critical review of the connections between the revolutionary dimensions of Marxism-Leninism, political Islam and Jihadi-Salafism, Daesh’s revolutionary message is contextualized. Then, a brief genealogy of Daesh’s rise a as revolutionary actor due to the temporal and spatial overlap of two “windows” of “revolutionary opportunity” is discussed, with the “Caliphate” as Daesh’s revolutionary peak and outcome. While this chapter supports the notion of recoded sovereignty as a major characteristic of Daesh’s ontology, the argument concludes that the specifications for Daesh’s success in the group’s revolutionary hybrid subjectivity, manifest as both and none, ‘state’ and ‘war machine’ at the same time and place.

Keywords: revolutionary intent, situation & outcome; revolutionary hybrid; opportunity; belief system; Islamic State; Jihadism; Salafism

Revolutionaries and Global Politics. War Machines from the Bolsheviks to ISIS
Edited by Ondrej Ditrych, Jakub Zahora, Jan Daniel

More on this book at Edinburgh University Press

„[p]rovides a novel perspective on the concept and practice of revolutionary movement as an international phenomenon

  • Draws on Deleuze and Guattari’s war machine and understanding of hybridity
  • Introduces the concept of hybrid revolutionaries as movements that seek to overturn the existing global order, yet draw on and even reproduce some of its founding principles
  • Advances current theoretical and practical debates on the state system, revolution and violence
  • Deploys the conceptual framework to situate ISIS in larger histories of discontents of the international order

This is a book about discontents of the global order. Building on the innovative reading of ISIS as an international revolutionary actor, it explores the movement’s everyday political practices and confronts them with other global revolutionaries to arrive at a novel understanding of revolutionary agency in global politics. Benefiting in particular from Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of war machine and understanding of hybridity, the book shows how modern revolutionaries seek to disrupt the existing Westphalian order of modern states, yet are inevitably entangled with it and even reproduce in their conduct its founding principles. Including discussions on movements ranging from the Bolsheviks and Palestinian revolutionary groups to Khomeinists, to insurgents in Iraq and ISIS, the book pushes forward debates informed by critical social theory of revolution, violence, resistance and global order.“ (in: Edinburgh University Press Website, 2023)